Category Archives: Fraud

Rev Jim Bakker – 1980

“A cancer that needed to be excised from the body of Christ” THE CRIME: Jim Bakker was a seemingly charming tele-evangelist who, with his permanently over made-up wife Tammy Faye, was the public face of the PTL Ministry. PTL stood for Praise The Lord or People That Love but wags suggested it really meant Pass… Read More »

Clifford Irving 1970-1972

“Cliff lives in a world of fantasy” THE CRIME: Billionaire Howard Hughes was an aviator, founder of Trans World Airlines, billionaire, film producer, owner of RKO Pictures, bra inventor and much more, but it is for his eccentricities that he is best known. Hughes became a paranoid recluse and little-known novelist Clifford Irving decided to… Read More »

Dr Emil Savundra – 1963-1966

“I came here to cross swords with England’s greatest swordsman” THE CRIME: Emil Savundra was for much of his professional life a lucky man. He was a lover of Mandy Rice-Davies at the time of the Profumo affair, but was only referred to in court as “the Indian doctor”. He was freed from a five-year… Read More »

Frank Abagnale – 1960s

Catch Me If You Can THE CRIME: Frank William Abagnale Jr was born at Bronxville, Westchester County, New York, on 27 April 1948 and became well known when Leonardo Di Caprio portrayed him in the film Catch Me if You Can. Much of Abagnale’s story is disputable by the very nature of his “profession”. His… Read More »

Charles Van Doren – 1956

“I have deceived my friends and I had millions of them” THE CRIME: Television was still in its infancy in the 1950s but a number of quiz shows were popular with viewers, including The $64,000 Question, The $64,000 Challenge, Twenty-One and High Finance. For some time rumours had circulated that not all was well with… Read More »

Bernie Cornfeld -1956-1970

“Do you sincerely want to be rich?” THE CRIME: Turkish-born Bernard Cornfeld did not look like a comnan but he was; he did not look like a ladies’ man but he was that, too – a remarkably successful one. One lover was the future madam to the stars Heidi Fleiss, even though he was almost… Read More »

Ferdinand Waldo Demara

“Rascality, pure rascality” THE CRIME: Ferdinand Waldo Demara, Jr was born at 40 Texas Avenue, Lawrence, Massachusetts at 7.30am on 21 December 1921. He wanted to become a priest, trying to enter a Trappist monastery on Rhode Island in 1935. Two further attempts at seminary life failed and in 1941 he joined the army. It… Read More »

Elmyr de Holy – 1946

He was imprisoned in a German concentration camp for being both a Jew and a homosexual. THE CRIME: As with many frauds, what is true and what fable is often difficult to ascertain. Elmyr de Hory was born in 1906, probably as Elmyr Dory Boutin, and claimed that his father was an Austro-Hungarian ambassador and… Read More »

Martin T. Manton – 1939

“Defraud the United States of its right to have its legal functions exercised free from unlawful impairment” THE CRIME: In 1939 Martin Thomas Manton was the senior judge of the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, a position second only to that held by the members of the US Supreme Court. He… Read More »

Richard Whitney – 1931

When he declared bankruptcy, he owed approximately $6.5 million THE CRIME: Richard Whitney was born into a wealthy Boston, Massachusetts, family on 1 August 1888. In 1910 he moved to New York where he founded his own bond brokerage firm and, two years later, bought a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. In 1919… Read More »